Some Jumping Spiders Prefer To Eat Nothing But Mosquitoes
If you are afraid of spiders, and you hate mosquitoes, then maybe you will appreciate the two types of spiders that prefer to eat mosquitoes exclusively. Jumping spiders are often the topic of study, and a recent study published in the Journal of Arachnology has described two different species of jumping spiders that eat mosquitoes even as they are flying erratically through the air.
The two types of jumping spiders described in the study are referred to as Evarcha culicivora and Paracyrba wanlessi. The wanlessi jumping spider, like all jumping spiders, possesses great eyesight. This spiders’ highly acute eyesight is necessary for plucking mosquitoes out of the air within the bamboo forests where this jumping spider dwells. This particular species of jumping spider is particularly gifted at catching mosquito larvae. Mosquito larvae hide out within bamboo shoots, which the wanlessi jumping spider quickly plucks out for a snack. However, when it comes to adult mosquitoes, these spiders hunt their prey by stalking the adult mosquitoes until the time to attack is just right. It is rare for any type of spider species to have two distinct hunting methods, especially when the spider only feeds on one type of insect.
Everybody should have some respect for the culicivora type of jumping spider because they hunt and kill mosquitoes that can be dangerous to humans. These jumping spiders hunt mosquitoes known as Anopheles. These mosquitoes carry malaria, and are always on the lookout for some vertebrate blood. In fact, the culicivora jumping spiders don’t waste time hunting for any old Anopheles mosquito, these spiders only hunt mosquitoes that have already sucked blood. The jumping spiders can somehow sense when these mosquitoes are carrying blood, and when they are blood-free. These mosquitoes are often found around human settlements in Kenya, and they contribute enormously to the malaria epidemic in Africa. So if you ever travel to Africa, and you spot a jumping spider, you may be saving some lives by not stepping on it.
Do you know of any other types of spiders that hunt without using webs? With the exception of web-building which other methods do spiders employ to catch prey?